Regardless of where you live, there likely is a local vibe that is worth exploring. Each community and town offers something unique. The local experience helps forge your commitment to where you live. By becoming familiar with the happenings in your neighborhood, you partner with merchants which can have a significant influence on the economic future of your community. I just heard on the news that 1/3 of retail revenue in the state of North Carolina comes from privately owned, small business and each dollar spent at a local business brings a larger percentage of money to the community compared to a chain retail store. I think it was something like $.60 local vs $.40 chain-retail per dollar. So by buying locally, more money finds its way back into the area.
Another rewarding way to support your community is to buy from local farmers. I love the slogan if you ate today, thank a farmer. There are so many reason why I love to buy locally. One. I love farms. Two. I love preserving land. Three. I love the farming culture. Four. I love fresh food. I’m sure I can go on and on, but you get the point. Our Thanksgiving turkey is coming from a local farm in Hampstead called Humble Roots Farm. If and when you can, shop and buy locally.
As the holiday season launches this upcoming week consider supporting and shopping in your town or surrounding area. Here are some things that are happening around me. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have something similar going on where you live. This is what I’m up to.
Saturday: November 17 I’m heading up to Lenoir County Farmers Market in downtown Kingston, NC. There I will hopefully meet Vivian Howard from the restaurant Chef and the Farmer and the PBS production, A Chef’s Life. I received her book Deep Run Roots as a gift from my dear friend Ruth. I’m bringing it with me, maybe I I can ask her to sign it! (Just a side note: in Wilmington, NC where I live, Vivian Howard and her husband Ben Knight opened a restaurant called Benny’s Big Time. It’s a great pizza establishment and so much more. I love their pizza, and coming from New York, that’s a huge compliment.) So I’m hoping to start my Christmas shopping, learn some cooking techniques and sample some of the local delights.
Saturday: November 17 evening. My husband and I are going to a fund raiser to support the Good Shepherd homeless shelter. I volunteer there every week and figure since we were going to go out to eat this weekend anyway, why not spend money that will benefit a good cause?
Sunday: November 18 Riverfest, downtown Wilmington (starts November 17 with concerts all afternoon and fireworks at nightfall) There will be a BMX show, Kid Zone and 30 Food vendors and Local Brewers. It will be a fun to roam around the downtown area, sample some food and drink and maybe make some more purchases for the upcoming holiday’s.
I think the key to living locally is the more you know the more you are likely to get involved. Since I moved to NC, I found there to be so many resources. Two significant resources I found are Wilmington Newcomer’s Club and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNCW. The newcomer's club is for women which meet monthly. This club helps you connect with other women through satellite groups of various types: mahjong, breakfast club, movie night, photography, garden and travel club and many other options that suite your fancy. There’s something for everyone and it helps you meet people and make some new friends. The Osher Lifelong Learning or OLLI as it’s known is 1 of 120 throughout the United States offering educational and experiential programming for those over 50. There are endless possibilities of courses to keep your mind stimulated. Both these resources can be found in many communities across the country.
So here you have a small sampling of what a community in the southeast has to offer. I encourage you to see what your community has, I bet you might be pleasantly surprised. I’m sure there’s something worth your time, energy and resources.